Juanita Hansen,Claire Anderson,James Donnelly 1917 SHORT
This is one of Ben Turpin's earlier silents for Keystone (Sennett Studios). While there is some of the typical material from a Keystone comedy (including a short but exciting obligatory chase at the end), the rest of the movie is very, very unusual to say the least! For some odd reason, an inventor has made an automaton that is modeled after Ben. While the audience can tell which is which, the folks in this little short are a bit dim and can't seem to tell that later when the dummy is supposed to perform on stage, it's actually Ben taking its place. I was particularly impressed by Turpin's physicality and ability to do some complicated scenes and I was also impressed that this was a pretty funny short for 1917. While not great, it is among the better shorts from that period.
By the way, look for Chester Conklin (a perennial in these films) with his trademark mustache as well as a young Wallace Beery as the owner of the theater.